California and 30x30

What is 30 by 30 and what does MBCA have to do with it?

The “30 by 30” effort began as an international movement to set aside 30 percent of the earth’s land area to preserve wildlife habitat and protect against climate change. It also recognizes the rights, stewardship, and experience of indigenous peoples in managing natural resources. It prioritizes ensuring that the benefits of cleaner lands, waters, and air are shared by all.

California is the first in the nation to commit to protecting 30% of our lands and waters by 2030 (Gavin Newsom executive order October 2020).  In January of 2021 the Biden administration issued an Executive Order on tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad and committed the United States to 30x30.  

Why is this important? "Because our land and waters contain the planet’s biodiversity — from the smallest organisms to the largest predators. When species are diminished, it affects whole ecosystems, and when ecosystems suffer, their ability to provide clean water, clean air, pollination and the many other functions we rely on is vastly reduced," according to Noelle Chambers, vice president of conservation for Peninsula Open Space Trust.

Four MBCA board members were involved in the planning and response for 30x30: Arch McCulloch, Brian Hammer, Pat Flanagan and Gary Stiler. They share that there were some challenges in recognizing the importance and contours of the desert. "Our biggest concern is they don't acknowledge the desert as a whole, they only acknowledge a piece of it. Nor does the state acknowledge that the CA Desert sequesters 10% of the state's carbon. We want them to explore what's there," reports Flanagan. 

In a February 2022 letter co-signed by MBCA, desert groups complained about "ecological fragmentation of the California desert", as Death Valley was considered part of the Sierra Nevada area and Anza Borrego was attached to the San Diego section. This issue was not corrected in the final plan (PDF)


(Word Cloud graphic from 30x30 California)






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  • Stacy Doolittle
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